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FAQ Tip # 1: Itchy Ears
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD posted:
The outer ear and ear canal is lined or covered by SKIN. Since skin can cause a variety of dermatological conditions, the causes of an itchy ear can be numberous, from bacterial or fungal infections to common skin conditions like atopic dermatitis (eczema) or even psoriasis.

Q-tips users can develop itchy ears because they strip the protective wax coating from the ear canal. The skin will break down and cause itching, or set the stage for a seconary bacterial or fungal infections.

The most common bacterial infection in the ear canal would be otitis externa, or "swimmer's ear" -- a problem that can occur in people who do not even swim. Water exposure from bathing or showering also can do it, too. When people get water in their ears, they may reach for those Q-tips to wick it out. This repeated and unnecessary practice often results in itching.

Fungus loves to grow in warm, dark places. The ear canal often is a perfect environment for overgrowth of fungus or yeast. Many times, the underlying cause of chronic ear itching may be fungal.

Allergies can also be involved. People with allergies can have itchy eyes, itchy nose, itchy throat, and itchy ears. Basically....all areas of the skin, including the inside of the ear may itch.

The key to effective treatment of an itchy ear is a proper diagnosis. A primary care medical provider is a good place to start, but an ENT or dermatologist should be consulted if a cause is not immediately apparent.

If you are a Q-tip user -- a wax cleaner or an ear-scratcher, then STOP DOING THIS! Sometimes, just allowing the protective wax coating (cerumen) to return is enough to stop the itching.

Itching may be controlled or at least improved by using antihistamines, such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin. While this is certainly not a cure, controlling the itching until you can be properly diagnosed may make your symptoms more tolerable.
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